I grew up as the eldest of four boys. Our daughter is an only child. I wonder what’s applicable from my childhood to hers. Clearly there is much in common with all kids growing up. We all have to learn to eat, pick up our messes, dress ourselves, develop strong school and study habits, come to understand and get comfortable with ourselves, develop interests and hobbies, and interact and communicate with others.
On the other hand, boys are clearly different from girls. The number of siblings has its own effects. The time and place in which one grows up varies. The age and nature of one’s parents influences how one grows up. There are dozens (seems way too low, but to quantify it higher appears too high) of other nature and nurture differences.
Everything is the same, yet everything is different. Childbirth, an event replicated billions of times, which makes it a common shared experience, is simultaneously a uniquely personal event. It really should come as no surprise that we find growing up, something also occurring billions of times, to be full of unique challenges that feel like no one else has ever experienced. As our daughter grows up in her own wonderful way to become a unique person, I hope that we can guide her when needed, drawing on our common experiences. I’m a little nervous, but also up, I believe, for the challenges ahead.